By Imogen Killner
Had I seen the pitch for this article three years ago, I would have laughed in your face and crawled back into the anti-social haven of my bedroom. I spent my teenage years expecting highly of myself in comparison to my peers, resulting in me losing my own voice and self-esteem because I was too focused on the lives around me. Typical teenager, of course, but mixed in with anxiety was a whole roller coaster of fun.
Starting university was step one in my journey to self-confidence. I was just a small town girl living in a lonely world who took the midnight (morning) train (car ride) to a big city, something way out of my comfort zone. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, and I was desperate to start afresh with my surroundings, view of life, and view of myself. It was time for a new and improved version of me (which, spoiler, was not the best motive for me). I achieved just that in first year. I lost sight of myself because I was too busy making new friends, drinking, partying, dressing up. First year me was never, ever a regret. She needed to come out of her shell. She needed her time to have fun and not be bogged down with work. She wore skimpy clothes and dresses and heels and embraced her body for what it was. And she LOVED it.
I refer to my first year self as ‘she’ because, to be quite honest, ‘she’ wasn’t me. Second year me was very different in comparison. All of the work that first year me did on body confidence was thrown out of the window. My mental health was not at its best in second year, with no rational explanation, which resulted in my self-confidence plummeting to the ground. After being on the dating scene for a year or so, I realised that I was desperately trying to find the confidence that I needed in myself in the presence of another person. I could not be further from the truth. And so another reboot of myself occurred, and I was single for a whole year.
If you are struggling with self-confidence, or if you feel you are losing yourself, try being alone for a while. And I mean cold-turkey single. I spent that year working really hard on respecting my head, my body, and my voice. Keep your friends close to you and focus your energy on them. It was difficult, absolutely, but undeniably necessary. Eventually it got to a point where I didn’t even look at another person romantically, and it was wonderful. I came back to me. In fact, I came back to myself with such force that my confidence led me to fall back in love with myself again. I’m a big believer of wearing whatever I want, because I can, and this was only proven during the heat wave/world cup, where I went to the pub in a skirt, bralette and a light shirt. I actually felt really powerful.
If I were to give tips to someone who is lacking in confidence, my biggest tip would be fake it till you make it. Pretend that you exude confidence and kindness and it will come naturally to you. I mention kindness because a big part of confidence is the ability to make everyone around you feel safe and welcome, and in return they will feed off your energy and replicate it themselves. There’s a line between cockiness and confidence, and the line is kindness. Another tip, whilst being fairly materialistic, is to wear clothes that make you feel amazing! For me, I feel most confident in mom jeans, DMs and a baggy vintage shirt. I’m delving into bright colours at the moment too and enjoying it a lot. Whilst wearing these clothes, wack on a playlist that makes you feel really cool. When I’m getting ready for a night out I like to listen to girl power anthems to put me in the mood. Also, and I cannot stress this enough, recognise your strengths and be proud of them. You got into university for a reason. Fall in love with your subject and your hobbies and allow yourself to be proud of what you are good at.
Self-confidence is a tricky yet achievable milestone for any human. I like to think that confidence is all about the journey, and not the destination. In my journey I discovered my wit and excessive pun-usage is actually quite hilarious. I discovered that my body is MY body, and I can do whatever I want with it. I discovered that my friends are my friends because they like me as a person, so I should too. Confidence doesn’t happen overnight, but the wait is definitely worth it.